In light of Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize, here are photo’s of everyday heroism in the form of young girls around the world going to school.
“These abducted schoolgirls are my sisters,” Malala Yousafzai told Nicholas Kristof in his New York Times column about the April 15 kidnapping of 276 teenage schoolgirls in northern Nigeria by extremist Muslim group Boko Haram. The threat of violence by the Boko Haram is so severe in Nigeria that schools in the area closed this past March. But this school was different—it bravely reopened its doors so that these schoolgirls could take their final exams. Completing their education would make it possible for them to become teachers, doctors, and lawyers—professions, in other words, that could create change in a country that desperately needs it.
Malala — wise beyond her sixteen years, who survived a bullet to her head after expressing her wish to become a doctor in Pakistan—is right. Those schoolgirls are her sisters. And they are our sisters, too. For whatever life you lead, however many miles away from what can feel like just another headline in the newspaper, these schoolgirls represent the reality and the challenges of becoming an educated woman in today’s world. A fact that one desperately wishes weren’t true. It is impossible to imagine the courage it takes to wake up every day and be one of those schoolgirls. To realize that each day spent in the classroom is to risk your life. Your future is so unknown as a teenager. But no woman should feel in danger to her right for an education.
To get more involved, you can join Michelle Obama in the fight to #bringbackourgirls. And above, a collection of photographs from across the globe show young women whose mere presence in the classroom is part of the fight for the human right to the freedom to use their minds, to be considered equals with their peers.